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Update: Is this the year of the Ubuntu tablet? Canonical hints at touch-friendly OS

by Doug Drinkwater

January 2 2013

Canonical's countdown is due to end at 1pm E.S.T (10am P.S.T)
Canonical's countdown is due to end at 1pm E.S.T (10am P.S.T)

Canonical, the company behind the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system, today teased that the operating system could soon be coming to smartphones and tablets.

A countdown clock on the firm’s website carried the rather cryptic message of “so close, you can almost touch it”, which could be a reference to the operating system supporting greater touchscreen control (Ubuntu first introduced touchscreen support in version 11.04). The countdown is due to end at 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST).

This isn’t the first time Canonical has hinted at smartphone and tablet support for its highly rated Linux OS.

PhoneNews reports that the company will unveil a ‘new breed of Ubuntu devices under the Ubuntu Touch banner’ later today and possibly with an OEM partner, while various representatives from the firm have in the past suggested that a tablet version of the OS would emerge in 2013.

Founder Mark Shuttleworth has also told interviewers that the company aims to get the OS running across multiple platforms on version 14.04 of Ubuntu, which is reportedly set for release in April 2014.

Update: On the conclusion of the countdown, the company announced Ubuntu Mobile, a new operating system for smartphones.

The OS will support x86 processors and ARM chips, which is good news for any future OEM makers, and could feature on the first phones from early 2014, according to Shuttleworth.

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